The True Philadelphia Podcast with Matt O'Donnell
Summary: Philadelphia's morning news guy for 6abc Action News talks to the "true" people of Philadelphia and the surrounding region. They are tough, they are frank, they fascinating and they are ours!
The music director and conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra since 2012 has been starved of performing live music since the shutdowns began in March of 2020. And he knows classical music lovers are starved for its return. Yannick Nézet-Séguin sat down with Matt O'Donnell at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts ahead of the special "Hail to the Heroes" performance, the Orchestra's first before a live audience in 14 months. "Hail to the Heroes" airs on 6abc Saturday, July 3 at 7pm. Matt also talked shop and received some tips on the timpanis with famous Philadelphia Orchestra percussionist Don Liuzzi and heard about his thoughts on the return to the real stage. Recorded at Mann Center for Performing Arts, May 2021 and at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, June 2021 In this podcast: 1:50 How Yannick has maintained his energy and positivity throughout the pandemic 2:49 The importance of putting his isolation second in his role as music director 4:20 How the special Orchestra performance is very much like a feast, and a move from "takeout" to real dining (plus dessert) 5:30 Yannick's message to the frontline workers, many of whom would be in attendance at the concert 6:38 Choosing the music in the program, from Beethoven to the "Rocky" Theme, a song he always dreamed of performing in Philadelphia 8:15 How COVID-19 has touched him in Philadelphia and New York, where he is also music director of the Metropolitan Opera 10:50 How the Philadelphia Orchestra used the time off during the pandemic to consider changes, including perhaps new uniforms and an expansion of the music selections 14:07 Yannick discusses his famously animated performance style and what he is thinking at the conductor's stage 16:16 Philadelphia Orchestra timpani player and percussionist Don Liuzzi riffs on the famous "Thus Spoke Tharathustra" piece from "2001: A Space Odyssey" 17:00 Matt gives the timpanis a try 17:33 Don explains how his love of the Beatles led to his career in percussion 18:10 The Great Finale!
Yes, calling oneself the "Director of Fun" is a boastful exercise but Springdale Golf Club professional Keith Stewart lives the title every day. His early career brought him to Isleworth Country Club in Florida while Tiger Woods was destroying PGA fields and golf courses in the late 90s and early 00s and has great insight ahead of the best time of year for golf: Masters Week! Tiger will be defending his 2019 title and we talk about his chances. We also discuss how the pandemic has only made the game of golf stronger, how Keith was able to reinvent himself as a podcast host (like me!), what every golfer should do to get better and if Bryson DeChambeau is growing the game of golf - or destroying it. Recorded at Springdale Golf Club, Princeton, NJ on October 14, 2020. In this podcast: we talk about how this strange year of 2020 has been going at one of New Jersey's most historic golf clubs (2:18), why Keith says golf proved to be "pandemic proof" (3:20), if he thinks golf's "pandemic boom" is better and more sustainable than the "Tiger boom" more than 20 years ago (3:50), what the pandemic has taught him about the pro-golfer's relationship with the golfing consumer (5:10), why golf has proven to have a need to be personal, even with social distancing in place (7:30), Keith's moniker as "director of fun" and how he makes such a frustrating game enjoyable for others (9:10), we riff on Caddyshack for a few seconds, wondering why it took us so long (10:30), how the infusion of youth into the sport has been so important and beneficial (12:10), how and why a golf professional like him became a podcaster (13:15), what his efforts to expand his range of abilities can teach others, especially those forced to reinvent themselves during this pandemic (16:06), why doing something for yourself is so important (17:00), if he is able to text Tiger Woods and how Keith describes the legendary golfer's abilities (18:40), what Tiger was like while Keith worked at Isleworth (20:30), the necessity of creating a shell when you are one of the most recognizable people on Earth and how becoming the world's greatest golfer required so much sacrifice (22:30), seeing one's grip on the world as it relates to the grip on a golf club (23:50), If Tiger will defend his 2019 Masters championship (25:00), if he will surpass Jack Nicklaus' 18 major titles (27:26), we discuss how Bryson DeChambeau has changed golf and whether it is for the better (27:50), if DeChambeau will pay a price in the future for his physical transformation and performance on the golf course (30:50), the first thing any golfer can do to improve their game immediately (32:10), the surprising percentage of golfers who actually take lessons (33:00), the second thing golfers need to do to improve (and why) - work on the short game (35:20), why Keith's favorite club is his putter (and why mine is the driver) (38:15), we hit the golf course! (44:00).
Dr. Jonathan Epstein leads an institution that is researching just about every angle you can think of when it comes to COVID-19: vaccines, treatments, contact tracing, the long-term effects of an infection, the mystery of being asymptomatic and who should be vaccinated first. Dr. Epstein is the Chief Scientific Officer at Penn's Perelman School of Medicine. He has been leading this pivotal institution from his home in Wayne, PA since COVID-19 restrictions began back in the spring. Dr. Epstein shared with us why he is so hopeful and encouraged by the tireless work being done in the medical community, but also why he is disappointed with how our country has handled our worst pandemic in 100 years. Dr. Epstein also offers his prediction on when the pandemic will end and how we will even know it. Recorded via Zoom, October 26, 2020 In this podcast: Dr. Epstein provides an overview on what his scientists at the Perelman School of Medicine are working on, coronavirus-related (1:50), what he believes is the biggest mystery of COVID-19 (3:40), what has been most surprising (and frustrating) about the pandemic (4:15), what it means to have pandemic fatigue not only in the general public but also for health care workers (4:50), what past pandemics tell us about what we should expect over the winter and next year (6:35), shutdowns, vaccines, herd immunity and our "toolbox" in reaching an end to the pandemic (8:30), Dr. Epstein's hopes on a vaccine(s) and treatments (11:30), what we know about the rarity of getting reinfected by COVID-19 and how treatments could play a role (13:15), if this coronavirus is mutating (14:40), the "long-termers" of COVID-19 and how worrying it is that even asymptomatic people have shown organ damage (16:20), how the medical community pivoted so quickly to fill the void of getting a handle on the pandemic early on (18:55), where the virus came from (20:10), how he personally gets through the darkest moments of this year (21:50), how we need to address potential competition between nations when it comes to vaccine development and distribution (23:20), how we will know we have reached the finish line of the pandemic and when that might be (25:30), an assessment of how this country handled the pandemic and how we might handle the next one (26:40), some of the silver linings of the pandemic, including increased connectivity in business and relationships and the better collaboration in medicine (28:25), how historians might look back at the year of 2020 and what the chapter would be called.
Back in the spring, Adam Weiner decided he had to do something. The pandemic suddenly prevented his band, Low Cut Connie, from their lifeblood - performing live music. While in the spare room of his South Philadelphia home, he started broadcasting what would become the "Tough Cookies" series. He sings, he dances, he bangs on his stand-up piano, he offers words of enlightenment and hope. Originally a vehicle to simply entertain those watching on Instagram and Facebook, the episodes have gone so far as to uplift his fans during a public health crisis and sustain the LCC brand. Adam's music now has a solid worldwide fanbase thanks to the live streaming success. He is riding that wave into the release of the band's sixth album, a double LP called "Private Lives", in October of 2020. What the world didn't know was that while Adam was helping so many others cope with this public health crisis, he was hurting too. Numerous physical injuries from performing live night after night caught up with him. And he became massively depressed. Adam wants to share what helped bring him happiness and wellness again with anyone and everyone because it fits in with the Low Cut Connie mission statement: you are tougher than you know. Recorded October 6, 2020 Featured at the end of the podcast: "Help Me", Low Cut Connie, from the 2020 double LP "Private Lives" In this podcast: Adam shares the story behind his spare bedroom becoming a worldwide stage (2:28), how he branded his live stream performances "Tough Cookies" (4:20), the personal mission statement: people are tougher than they know (6:00), Adam discusses the future of the music recording industry and how livestream will remain a huge part (7:50), talks about the many physical injuries that mounted over many years of live performances (14:00), likens his role as the lead singer and pianist of a rock band to a "short-order cook" (15:00), the difference between him and a professional athlete (16:15), Adam then shares his mental struggles that became a serious concern during the recording of his new album (18:31), how his depression began in his childhood (19:25), what advice he gives to others who have similar mental health issues (21:00), how he was bullied as a child (21:50), his new album, a double LP called "Private Lives" and what he thinks about people saying his music is "retro" (25:31), a new routine he picked up since the beginning of the pandemic (29:47), what he would tell a fan who came up to him and asked "Are we going to be okay?" (33:00), how the song "Help Me" needed to, in his words, cook in the oven a little longer before he could record and release it (36:25), we play the single "Help Me" from Low Cut Connie's "Private Lives" (38:50).
Buddy Blanchard fronts the world's greatest Van Halen tribute band: Philadelphia's own Romeo Delight. Buddy, as you might have guessed, plays the part of David Lee Roth. We first met several years ago when I started this podcast. I thought it was great that we had such an authentic representation of the great music of Van Halen right in our backyard. I played with the band in their practice space in Huntingdon Valley and I had the honor of performing as a guest drummer with Romeo Delight at Musikfest and the Running of the Santas. We share a deep admiration for Van Halen, the world's ultimate hard rock party band. No one was better. And Eddie Van Halen was a genius among us. Every time he would innovate a sound coming from his guitar, people would try to copy it. And when they'd figure it out, Eddie had already moved on to something else jaw-dropping. Buddy and I talk about what we initially felt when we learned Eddie had lost his battle with cancer at the age of 65. We discuss why Van Halen's music was so popular. Buddy talks about meeting Eddie and David Lee Roth during a tour stop in Philadelphia. We offer our favorite Van Halen albums, songs and we select our own personal favorite Eddie guitar solo of all time. Plus, we look ahead: if Chuck Berry came first, if Jimi Hendrix took the rock guitar template and twisted it into something unique and fascinating and if Eddie Van Halen blew our minds, who is "the next one"? Maybe you have some ideas. My thanks to Buddy Blanchard and our best wishes for Romeo Delight to continue to warm our hearts with Van Halen nostalgia. May live music return to this country soon. Recorded on Zoom October 7, 2020.
Dr. Argie Allen-Wilson is a mental health and relationship therapist based in Montgomery County. My conversation with her on this episode of Inside Story was such a positive experience, I wanted to share it with you. So much negativity is converging as we speak: the pandemic, a new and frustrating school year, the nastiness of the presidential campaign, joblessness, poverty, systemic racism and uncertainty for our future. Dr. Argie helps guide us through these issues, helps us make sense of our problems/worries and leads us on a path of personal growth. Recorded September 4, 2020.
Dr. Thomas Farley spent much of his adult life preparing for this moment: leading a large US city through a worldwide pandemic. The health commissioner of Philadelphia is a North Jersey native, a pediatrician and an epidemiologist with a deep background in studying infectious diseases, particularly with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Farley and I spoke via Zoom and went back to those early days of the pandemic to discuss what worked, what didn't and whether it was tough to get people on board early on. He also offers optimism about an end to the pandemic and the chance of developing an effective vaccine. Recorded August 28, 2020. In this podcast: Dr. Farley addresses why he seems so calm despite the chaotic nature a pandemic can bring (1:58), offers thoughts on how some people form opinions not based on science and how some even shun advice from medical professionals (2:51), talks about his time with the CDC, what he learned and how it prepared him for this job (3:32), if he feared "the big one" when it came to a fast-spreading virus (4:45), we talk about his comments on February 25, 2020, the day before the United States had its first official case of "local transmission" of the coronavirus (5:45), if he received pushback from his early, stern comments and warnings (6:31), what the most important decision was after Philadelphia saw its first official cases in March (7:07), what he would have done differently with nursing homes, which saw half of the overall deaths early on (8:04), how states that reopened too early impacted Philadelphia (9:30), handling the H1N1 pandemic as health commissioner in New York City (10:50), his reaction to comments from some people that suggest older people are "expendable" when getting life back to normal (12:27), the extended benefits we might see from the social distancing, the mask wearing and better hygiene and the upcoming flu season (14:05) what our chances are in developing treatments or vaccines for COVID-19 (15:25), how he will handle an announcement that a vaccine has been developed (16:12), if he thinks the coronavirus will become endemic in the US (17:25), our speed round begins (18:47), we discuss the economic impact of the shutdown orders (19:47), what Dr. Farley thinks about shaking hands in the future (20:50), if he's received hate mail/email/social media messages (22:10), his vision of the future for Philadelphia, a city hit hard by the pandemic and the shutdowns (22:50), how we might handle the next pandemic (24:53), using South Korea as a model, given its experience with SARS ahead of COVID-19 (24:48), if we will be wearing masks forever (25:19), why he thinks it's still important to focus on general health matters like smoking, salt intake and obesity (25:41), if he is hopeful about the NFL starting its season in September (27:12).
TRUE PHILADELPHIA PODCAST: Brian Tierney is Philadelphia's ultimate "Ad Man." The list of companies he's represented in strategizing, marketing and crisis management is long and diverse: Independence Blue Cross, Uber, Aramark, IBM, Verizon to name a few. He's the former owner and publisher of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Daily News and (what was then known as) Philly.com. He has a deep resume in campaign politics: Sam Katz and George H.W. Bush are among the names who have listened to Brian's advice. And he shares his traditional conservative viewpoints as a panelist on 6abc's Inside Story, of which I am a frequent host. My conservation with Brian comes at a time when uncertainty is the only certain thing. A major company like Hertz can suddenly disappear. A trip to a nearby state like North Carolina may require you to quarantine for two weeks upon your return. You may not get exact change back at a Wawa if you pay in cash and coins. Your neighbor may believe in a laughably absurd conspiracy theory surrounding a shadowy character named Q'Anon who may or may not exist. You may not even be able to bid a personal goodbye to a dying relative. Despite the feeling that a crazy, Black Swan-event is now always around the corner, Brian offers a measured, thoughtful and optimistic view of our new future. During this pandemic, I have been seeking voices like his to find comfort in our ultimate goal as humans; to make our tomorrows better. Brian believes we will make it out of this. I do too. Recorded via Zoom on July 28, 2020. In this podcast: Brian talks about being a panelist on Inside Story since 1988 and how he was selected (1:11), running for class president in the first grade and why he didn't even vote for himself (2:57), why he never ended up as a career, elected politician (3:52), his journey back to "Bal-uh Sinwood" for a career in public relations (6:54), I ask Brian the simple but complex question: How do you successfully marketing something? (8:16), why immediately loving an idea could be a bad sign (10:28), as someone who has built and sold three advertising firms, what he believes is the secret to his success (11:30), we look back at the "recent peak" of Philadelphia with the Papal Visit in 2015 and where the city is headed now (12:35), what "Philadelphia Grit" means to him (13:50), why we should be handling the coronavirus pandemic like we would an incoming blizzard (14:50), how to save the journalism industry (18:04), social media's early impact on the newspaper industry (20:05), why Facebook needs to change its attitude on addressing its many negative impacts on society (21:58), Brian's worry about the emerging political threat of China (23:30), how the ad industry is the key to forcing change with Big Tech (24:55), what kind of boss Brian is (26:15), what he thinks about employees who like to tell him why something can't happen (27:30), taking risks (27:55), why he insisted that one of his earlier companies needed to charge $15 more than any other competitor (31:25), what the "2025 Education Cliff" is all about and why it worries him (34:35), his successful campaign to find a new slogan for Philadelphia, which ended up being "Philadelphia: The Place That Loves You Back" (38:09), bringing U2 singer Bono to Philadelphia and why it proves "everyone is a human being" (41:00), why despite everything that is going on, Brian remains optimistic (43:10), why people who are struggling with their mental health should not be embarrassed (45:20).
Maribel Aber of CNN Newsource has been providing Action News with early morning financial reports for eight years. Typically she reports live from the NASDAQ Marketsite in Times Square, New York. She moved her broadcast operation to a home in Florida when the pandemic began to set in and has been there ever since. Maribel's deep knowledge of Wall Street, business and stocks is apparent. So is her positive, uplifting personality. We had always talked about meeting in-person for a podcast interview. But since doing Zoom calls has become the norm these days, we decided a virtual interview would suffice. Maribel gives us insight on reporting from her remote location, her background and earlier career dreams, what helped her succeed, her financial advice and making remote learning work better for students, teachers and parents. Plus, I try a brand new concept (for this podcast, at least): the "Speed Round." Recorded July 10, 2020. In this podcast: Maribel talks about leaving New York in the spring (2:00), setting up her remote broadcast operation (2:28), her background and original career plan (4:27), how she ended up meeting "All My Children" star Susan Lucci and why it meant so much to Maribel's mom (7:00), the day CNN called with interest in hiring her (8:26), how the Tom Hanks movie "Splash" mirrors how Maribel's mom (who is from the Philippines) learned English (8:48), Maribel's key to early career success (9:30), what financial advice she would give to a novice (11:20), her investment philosophy: buy what you know (12:30), why the stock market recovered much of its pandemic losses so quickly (14:30), what advice she would give people who have struggled financially during the pandemic (17:25), her great idea on how to make virtual learning better: making teaching more like a Peloton class (19:40), our "Speed Round" starts (22:10), Maribel's worries about how New York City will emerge from the pandemic (25:15), "Speed Round" continues.
When you ask Michael Coard what he thinks about anything, he will give you an answer - unfiltered. The longtime Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer has been talking for decades about racial issues that we now see at the forefront today: inequities in how African-Americans are treated in the judicial system, by police, in the workplace and with history. Coard joked that as fewer and fewer people see him as a "radical" maybe he needs to start acting crazier. Throughout our conversation, he gave thoughtful answers and powerful metaphors to express what it is like to be a Black man in America and why everyone needs to work together to reform our society. Not only a veteran lawyer and civil rights activist, Coard is also a journalist, a radio host and a teacher. We spoke via Zoom on July 6, 2020. In this podcast: Coard reveals what he would have told himself if he could go back to December of last year (1:25), what he thinks lit the spark among Americans to take an honest look at our country's race relations (2:00), if he was a radical before, what is he now? (2:45), why he "plays the race card" when fighting for equal rights (4:03), Coard presents a hypothetical situation that brings clarity to the struggles of African-Americans in the criminal justice system (4:25), if the "Angriest Black Man in America" is still angry (5:30), the story behind acknowledging the fact that President George Washington kept slaves at his house in Philadelphia (7:50), the poignant speech Coard gave at the opening of the President's House Memorial at Independence Mall in 2010 (11:10), why Coard is hopeful but also not naive about the growth of the Black Lives Matter movement (13:10), if a re-examining of the Founding Fathers, particularly those who owned slaves (which includes 10 of the first 12 presidents) is next (14:30), when America will be ready to move forward and put our dark history of slavery behind us (17:30), what Coard wants from Philadelphia's mayor and police commissioner over the tear-gassing of protesters on the Vine Street Expressway (18:10), how to balance police reform with protecting citizens from crime (20:00), the story of why Coard believes he became a successful man and how luck plays into our success (20:56), the commonalities he sees in the thousands of Black men accused of crimes he has represented over the years (22:14), how Coard wants to reimagine the Martin Luther King Day of Service (24:50), his response to the phrase "All Lives Matter" (27:30), where he thinks this country will be in a few years (30:05), how we can get people to listen to each other (32:10), the problem with echo chambers (36:00), why he thinks it's ridiculous when people tell protestors to stop "yelling and screaming" (37:55), what he has learned during the pandemic (39:45).
The idea of the US government spending several decades preparing to ride out an apocalypse by building an entire city in a hollowed-out mountain is fascinating - and terrifying, all the same. This city is contained within a massive bunker carved out of an Appalachian mountain known as Raven Rock. Historian, author and journalist Garrett Graff wrote the definitive book about it. I spoke to Garrett via a Zoom connection from his home in Vermont about the analogies he's seeing between preparing for a nuclear holocaust and enduring a viral pandemic. We also talked about 9/11 and what similarities and differences he is seeing there. We talked about anticipating the craziest election in American history (Garrett worked on Howard Dean's 2004 presidential campaign). And yes, we talked a lot about the mountain, Raven Rock. Recorded on Zoom on May 26, 2020. In this podcast: I asked Garrett if writing a book about the US preparing for Armageddon helped him prepare for this ongoing pandemic (1:45), why it is so hard to anticipate "low probability, high consequence" events (2:40), Garrett describes Raven Rock and its two mountain counterparts in Colorado and Virginia (5:15), how Raven Rock has changed over many decades and what is happening there right now (7:25), why it is so hard for the US government to prepare for the End of Times (8:42), what the inside of Raven Rock would look like (10:42), what Garrett thinks should be our government's greatest fears: massive grid and power failures along with catastrophic earthquakes (13:45), what similarities and differences he's noticed by living through 9/11 and this current pandemic (21:30), what the pandemic will mean for our country in the near, middle and long term (23:45), thoughts on the upcoming 2020 presidential election (30:10), if the pandemic is hurting or helping Joe Biden politically (31:20), the chances either President Trump or the former vice president would not appear on the ballot in November (32:00), if he finds social media a useful tool or a hindrance when it comes to unexpected events (32:27), we riff on our home states Pennsylvania and Vermont (35:06).
Jerri Williams spent 26 years as an FBI agent, mostly in the Philadelphia division. You might remember seeing her on Action News as the spokeswoman for the FBI and later on SEPTA before her retirement. Williams was able to remold herself post-retirnement as a successful author of fiction and non-fiction and as a podcaster. How did she figure out how to do this? She just learned, worked hard and did it. I spoke to Williams through a Zoom connection from her Gloucester County, New Jersey home about creating that "second act" in life, her days investigating white collar crime with the FBI, how some criminals clearly underestimated her, plus what the idea of a "Deep State" and an age of post-truth means for the FBI and the criminal justice system. Recorded on Zoom on May 18, 2020. In this podcast: Why her "FBI Retired Case File Review" podcast has become so popular, now with more than three million downloads (1:25), why she joined the FBI in the first place (2:45), how rare it was for a black woman to work in the FBI (4:00), why she thinks it is rare for women in general to join the bureau (4:30), the craziest case she ever worked on with the FBI - the New Era Philanthropy Ponzi scheme (5:30), if it was ever boring to be constantly working on complex white collar crimes (6:45), the criminal suspect who tried to charm her by saying she looked like singer Gladys Knight (8:00), how she became a successful author (9:10), how she became a successful podcaster and what the secret is to a great podcast (11:00), the skill of listening (12:10), if it was scary to have to figure out her life post-retirement (12:45), what she thinks about the conspiracy theories that the country is run by a "Deep State" that exists in the FBI (14:40), what she thinks about a post-truth world and the technology to create "deep fakes" to fool the public (16:20) her optimism that detection technology will help (17:20), if people are born evil or become evil (19:10), why she sees an increase in scams during this pandemic (21:15), why she is hopeful about coming out of this crisis (22:25), her favorite things about Philadelphia (23:10).
Jeff Pearlman and I were classmates at the University of Delaware and colleagues at the independent campus newspaper The Review. Jeff was the editor-in-chief our senior year and let's just say, that was a pretty crazy year. We explain why during this podcast. Jeff is a New York Times best-selling author. His latest book coming out this fall details the Kobe Bryant-led era of the Los Angeles Lakers. That begins our discussion, which then leads into a breakdown of what amateur and professional sports may look like in the near future. Jeff now lives in Southern California with his family. We spoke during a Zoom call on April 21, 2020. In this podcast: How the death of Kobe Bryant impacted Jeff and the release of his book on that Lakers dynasty (2:50), our time working together at the campus newspaper at the University of Delaware (4:30), how important it was to make mistakes early in a journalism career (7:10), how the internet has made it so much more difficult to survive one's mistakes on television these days (8:40), the time Jeff was a newspaper reporter in Tennessee and walked into a murder scene (9:50), how a sports journalist deals with a sports shutdown and what it means for the sportswriting industry (10:50), the chances of seeing professional sports being played anytime soon (12:50), if PGA Tour golf, as a sport with the least amount of contact between players, has a chance to resume (15:10), why Jeff says the NBA and the MLB seem to have different ideas about risk (16:30), what a baseball game without fans might be like (18:50), which major professional sports will have the most difficulty recovering (20:15), what he thinks about the prospects for pro soccer and hockey (22:00), the impact on college athletes and the NCAA (23:00), the chances of high school football games being played in the fall (23:45), if he would buy a ticket to next year's Super Bowl (25:00), if major sports will have to rework their broadcast contracts (26:40), how excitement over The Last Dance ESPN documentary is somewhat of a prelude to the return of professional sports (28:00), Jeff's favorite athlete as a player and as a person (30:45), his least favorites (he has three) (32:47), if he's working on his next book (33:45).
Ali Gorman has been our go-to for all things health, medical and wellness for more than 12 years. The South Jersey native's expertise has never been more needed or valued now. The registered nurse started her medical career with the Navy as a Nurse Corps officer. She knows what people on the front lines are dealing with right now. Ali opens up her knowledge bank to offer her thoughts on the whole host of uncertainties about this novel coronavirus. Recorded through Zoom on April 20, 2020 In this podcast: We talk about Ali's background in growing up, education and her career (1:10), why she joined the Navy (2:05), why she became one of the first at Action News to work from home (3:12), how being at home can actually make you do more work (4:20), what her health care worker colleagues are going through on the front lines (5:15), how nursing to her is a not just a profession, it is a "calling" (6:05), what Ali thought and feared back in January, before the United States had its first confirmed COVID-19 case (7:30), the teleconference call she was on with the CDC in mid-February that had a "change in tone" (8:25), if she ever thought she would live to see a full-on, world pandemic (9:50), if Ali worries the country could be "stuck" where we are going back and forth between stay-at-home orders (10:55), her thoughts on some of the conspiracy theories floating around (12:50), if she thinks we'll ever find "patient zero" (13:20), how the virus might have been around much earlier, with more community spread, than we had earlier thought (13:50), why it impacts people in a variety of ways from being asymptomatic to being fatal (14:20), the "cytokine storm" (15:15), why the coronavirus is a truly odd one (16:20), why the virus is so effective when it comes to its fatality rate and its symptoms (17:25), why this pandemic is so different from SARS, MERS, H1N1 and West Nile (18:30), what would have happened if we didn't apply social distancing and stay-at-home orders (19:50), if Ali fears large portions of the public will reach a breaking point and begin violating the distancing requirements (20:40), what she is most hopeful about with a vaccine, with a treatment and with increased testing (22:05), what the picture of the woman diving behind her at home is all about (24:00).
When concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated and the stay-at-home orders went into place in March of 2020, my entire family was suddenly at home a lot more than usual. My dog Bailey, a generally happy-go-lucky eight-year-old Shichon, immediately knew something was wrong. He seemed spooked, he acted stressed and he watched us more closely. Bailey might have even picked up on our general concern as parents - I mean, remember the early days of the pandemic when everything seemed to happen all at once and confusion was rampant? I became curious about Bailey's response and wanted to know more. Dr. Carlo Siracusa is a veterinarian and associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Ryan Veterinary Hospital. He studies animal behavior and seeks to understand our pets' stress level and why certain animals can turn aggressive. The Society Hill resident owns a cat Elsa and yes, Elsa also noticed a drastic change in her owner's work life and even became confused. Bailey and I spoke to Dr. Siracusa through a Zoom connection on April 8, 2020. I asked most of the questions while Bailey sat on my lap and occasionally ate treats. In this podcast: Dr. Siracusa introduces himself and explains his research at Ryan Veterinary Hospital (1:30), I introduce him to my dog Bailey (2:35), Dr. Siracusa asks about my experience with Bailey when our family observed the stay-at-home order (2:55), he explains why Bailey began acting different (4:45), how changes in the outdoor environment can also trigger stress in pets (6:40), why some pets may not like a sudden boost in attention from their owners (7:00), why it is important for pets to have their safe spaces and not be in a constant "state of activation" (9:15), how a drastic change in the home environment can kick in a pet's "survival mode" (9:45), how pets need quiet time at the end of the day, just like humans (11:15), why a dog or cat's resting time can be very different from their owners' (13:15), best advice: make sure you give your pet some space (14:00), Dr. Siracusa explains how his cat Elsa responded to a change in his routines (16:35), Bailey and I bid farewell and thank Dr. Siracusa for his time (18:20).